All Kinds of News for October 04, 2017
Mid-August of 2017 marked the addition of another member to the Outback Admissions Team. Dan Phillips, LCMHC, brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the program and the team is thrilled to welcome him to Outback.
Dan started working with adolescents in 1998. Over the past 19 years, he has held a multitude of positions in the adolescent therapeutic community including wilderness field staff, recreation counselor, outpatient clinician, and ultimately wilderness therapist. He earned his masters degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling in 2007 and proceeded to work as a primary therapist in both the private and public sector. Dan was drawn to wilderness therapy by the desire to reach out to adolescents in a manner that would allow a deeper connection than traditional therapeutic interventions. He is a believer in the power of growth through struggle, as this allows individuals to gain a belief in their own abilities by conquering obstacles never thought possible.
When asked about the draw to wilderness as a setting for growth, treatment and healing, Dan explains, “In this, a label-less environment, we are judged by the manner in which we care for the needs of self and those who surround us rather than a recognized symbol indicating we are ok. Wilderness therapy helps dispel myths perpetuated by a system that measures growth by standardized tests and brands.”
Dan has been married for over 14 years and is the father of three children who are his primary focus when not attending the needs of his clients/families at Outback. His natural propensity to serve families in need through authentic connection seamlessly integrates with the values held within the organizational culture of Outback Therapeutic Expeditions.
About Outback Therapeutic Expediations
Outback Therapeutic Expeditions is a licensed wilderness therapy program located in Utah that offers a highly integrated, comprehensive assessment and treatment for teens. Outback provides help for troubled teens ages 13-17 and delivers clinical oversight by a Masters Level therapist every day of the week. Outback helps teens with various areas of difficulties such as depression, anxiety, family conflict, engaging in dangerous behaviors, mild ASD, electronic and gaming addiction and more. Outback’s treatment options place strong emphasis on healthy relationships, increased self-efficacy, and a healthy amount of autonomy through skill building.
Recent studies have demonstrated the numerous benefits of integrating art in school. Research suggests a strong link between art education and improved literacy, math and critical thinking skills, as well as fewer disciplinary problems.
With the start of fall term, all Gateway students are taking part in a new class that integrates art across the curriculum. The class focuses on enhancing core content through artistic integration. For example, students use the current subject-matter from English, math, science and history to create a visual representation of the content, while augmenting cognitive development through creative expression.
Through participation in art integration, our students also:
- Improve their motivation and academic achievement through the use of visual, auditory and kinesthetic modalities
- Develop skills in creativity, problem-solving, critical thinking, communication, self-direction, initiative and collaboration
- Utilize mindfulness techniques to improve self-regulation and attention skills, as well as promote a growth mindset
The Art Integration class is taught by Pam Dorlac, who brings not only extensive experience in art instruction but has also directed art therapy track groups at Gateway. Students receive a Fine Arts credit for the Art Integration course, which is aligned with state standards.
These new changes are specifically designed to improve student learning, provide focused study time, and enhance the core curriculum for every Gateway student.
About Gateway Academy
Gateway Academy in Utah, is dedicated to the healthy development and healing of adolescent boys and their families. We provide a safe and nurturing environment through five integrated programs: Therapy, Academics, Community, Outdoor Education and Fitness. With integrity and respect, we help students feel empowered and valued, build healthy relationships, make thoughtful decisions, develop life skills, become life-long learners and achieve their personal best.
Telos U has been working with young men since opening its doors in 2016. Construction has just been completed on a beautiful apartment for young women on the Telos U campus. Female-specific programming has been created and a dynamic team experienced in working with women has been assembled.
In October the apartment will be furnished and decorated. In November, Telos U will begin accepting referrals for young women in need of structured support as they seek greater levels of fulfillment and independence.
About TelosTelos U and Telos RTC, located in Orem, UT, specialize in small class size and low pressure education systems support. Telos provides a therapeutic boarding school enironment for adolescent boys who need help with Processing of Information Disorders, ADD/ADHD, ASD and emotional disorders that prevent them from thriving in a typical high school environment. Telos offers a family systems approach to therapy, working with parents and siblings alongside Telos' students, and structuring a therapeutic mileu around triathlon training programs and other engaging activities outside of school class time.
As Evoke Cascade’s Program Director, Jason will provide program-wide leadership, oversee program operations, coordinate trainings for all departments and ensure quality programming and business practices.
Jason started with Evoke in 2007 holding the administrative roles of senior field instructor, associate field director and field director, excelling at all. Jason holds a Bachelor's degree from Providence College with extensive experience in teaching and program management.
Evoke believes Jason’s passion, experience and dedication to Evoke’s philosophy and employees will greatly further Evoke’s ongoing success of helping the many clients and families they work with.
Bio link: http://evoketherapy.com/the-evoke-team/operations/jason-sibley/
About Evoke Therapy Programs
Evoke Therapy Programs at Cascades, in Bend, Oregon provides innovative mental health treatment solutions for struggling teens, young adults and their families. Their programs foster lasting change utilizing the power of nature and Wilderness Therapy. Evoke also offer Personal Growth Intensive Workshops for individuals and families who are looking to create dynamic changes in their life or to simply find the balance they are seeking.
Last week Red Oak Recovery Karyn Kaminski's presented at the 2017 National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) Northeast Regional Conference at the Colony Hotel in Kennebunkport, Maine. Working with adolescent and young adult men can feel like a game of chess. They often present as oppositional, rigid, avoidant, disengaged or treatment resistant. The co-occurence of disorders with problematic substance use can futher complicate accurate diagnosis and effective treatment planning.
Primary Therapist Karyn Kaminski, MSW, LCSW presented on the value of Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT), a third wave behavioral approach in an integrated approach for adolescents and emerging adults with co-occuring issues. Karyn and her co-presenter, Kevin Waller, LPCS, LCAS of SUWS of the Carolinas provided valuable take aways for cliniclans to use in a client-centered approach to moving toward a values-driven life.
About Red Oak Recovery
Red Oak Recovery is located in the pristine Blue Ridge Mountains, just north of Asheville, NC, and is the result of extensive experience and research for developing highly effective programming to create a foundation of long-term recovery for young adults. The program uniquely blends quality clinical care, adventure therapy, experiential therapy, 12 Step work and social skills development to create positive, and lasting change.
What is the single most important factor of survival or attribute of a survivor?
Novitas Academy students enjoyed this Project-Based Learning lesson on survival. They first studied Aron Ralston. Aron Ralston is the young man who had to cut off his forearm to free himself from a dislodged boulder in a Utah canyon in 2003. He was “canyoneering” — making his way down a narrow canyon — at the time. After five days with little food and water, he broke his arm and then amputated it with a knife to escape.
This man has grit! The students agreed that there are all kinds of different situations that an individual may be faced with for survival. There are risks from natural catastrophes, personal loss, terrorists and accidents, just to name a few. To answer my question…. they all take some level of grit to survive.
The Novitas students put together survival kits and research based reports on survival situations for their own regions. Now one great thing about Novitas Academy and Project-Based Learning is that some students are at an intermediate level and some at an advanced level, meaning that expectations are always high but at an individual learning ability. Therefore, they are always encouraged to push themselves no matter which level they are.
With Project-Based Learning, the students really process and become involved with their class studies. The students had a lot of fun putting together their reports and survival kits. Some pretty funny items did show up in their survival kits though, but who can argue with a box of Snickers?
About Novitas Academy
Novitas Academy is located in Emmett, Idaho on 30 acres of majestic river front property, Novitas Academy is a unique therapeutic boarding school for boys ages 14-18 and grades 9-12 accredited by AdvancED. Novitas is a relationship-based program that strives to help our students build their self-esteem and self-confidence through discovering and nurturing their strengths, passions, and dreams.
About CooperRiis Healing Community
CooperRiis Healing Community is a nonprofit residential mental health facility founded in 2003 by parents of a child who faced mental health issues. Its campuses in Mill Spring and Asheville, N.C. have a resident-to-staff ratio that’s better than 1:1. They treat wellness, not illness. CooperRiis residents experience a holistic approach that includes daily service work, peer interaction, diet, exercise, self-esteem and empowerment. Data and anecdotes from residents show that CooperRiis helps them and their families get beyond helplessness and blame to a positive place of hope, support and transformation.
In 2016, nearly 60 percent of Skyland Trail patients admitted with a primary diagnosis of major depression. Skyland Trail offers primary psychiatric residential and day treatment programs for adults, ages 18 to 65 and older.
Several elements of the evidence-based treatment program at Skyland Trail collectively help clients with depression improve their mood and get better.
Medication Management: Effective medication management is an important tool to reduce the symptoms of major depression. While there is no one recipe for success, six Skyland Trail staff psychiatrists are all skilled at developing an effective medication strategy for each client, one that improves mood, concentration and energy, while minimizing side effects.
Expert Therapists: Skyland Trail therapists receive ongoing training in evidence-based therapeutic modalities for depression, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Clients are matched with a specialized primary counselor and peer group based on their depression diagnosis, and they receive skills-based therapy targeted to address their symptoms.
Future Focused: Skyland Trail clients are not asked to go back in time to analyze the historical antecedents that led to their depression. Reiterating what happened in childhood and all the bad things that have happened perpetuates the idea that someone should feel sad. While the role of the past is acknowledged, treatment is focused on the present, specifically on recalibrating thinking. Clients are empowered to reframe their thinking, so that when difficult situations arise, they can choose to think in a way that counteracts feelings of sadness, worthlessness or hopelessness. Helping clients replace “automatic negative thoughts” with healthy thoughts changes the feedback loop and contributes to an improved mood.
Behavioral Activation: When someone is depressed and does not feel like doing anything, that is exactly the time to be active. That means exercise. That means socialization. That means not going back to bed and isolating for the rest of the day. The Skyland Trail treatment team employs behavioral activation to help clients understand – and feel - the link between behavior and mood. Multidisciplinary experts help clients adopt strategies to use exercise, socialization, and hobbies like art, music, and gardening as tools to stay healthy.
Our Healing Community: When someone is depressed, her world tends to shrink. She spends an inordinate amount of time looking internally. That can be a recipe for continued depression. Being part of a community, thinking about and helping others, and receiving recognition for contributions to the community is a really important part of reaching remission from depression.
Together, these approaches help Skyland Trail clients make lasting changes in how they think and interact with the world. After completing the treatment program, clinical outcomes research indicated that clients are more able to function in their daily lives and have improved feelings of hope.
About Skyland TrailLocated in Atlanta, Skyland Trail is a nationally recognized nonprofit mental health treatment organization serving adults ages 18 and older with a primary psychiatric diagnosis. Through our residential and day treatment programs, we help our clients grow, recover and reclaim their lives. We’re focused on individuals with complex mental health issues, helping them understand that they can be – and are – more than a diagnosis. We offer expert, evidence-based psychiatric care alongside a compassionate, holistic path to wellness. Our integrated mental, medical, and social model helps clients develop strategies to improve mental health, physical wellness, independence, and relationships with family and friends. Unique therapies offered include music, art and horticultural therapy; workforce and school readiness; primary care services; family therapy; and healthy living and nutrition coaching. Learn more at www.skylandtrail.org
Trails Carolina, a wilderness therapy program for teens ages 10-17, engages and supports siblings of students throughout the therapeutic process by incorporating regularly scheduled sibling calls, workbook activities, and including siblings in the family transition process during graduation.
From the very start of a student’s time at Trails, involving the entire family in the therapeutic process is one of the most important aspects of the healing process.“ At Trails, we believe that involving siblings in the therapeutic process is extremely important to the healing process of the entire family,” comments Jason McKeown, MS, LMFT, CPE, DCC, Family Clinical Director. “Siblings have a really unique perspective of what it’s like to grow up in the same home as their brother or sister in treatment. They may have access to information about their sibling at Trails that the parents are not aware of. It allows us to gain a rich amount of information which can help the sibling’s healing process, and also helps inform their brother or sister’s treatment at Trails.”
Siblings are engaged on multiple levels throughout family programming. The sibling workbook is one example of their involvement in the therapeutic process.
“The sibling workbook helps family members better understand the therapeutic process,” says McKeown. “It also teaches siblings some of the tools that their brother or sister is learning here at the program so that there is a commonality of communication post-treatment. The workbook covers a lot of frequently asked questions, concerns and information that many siblings have when their brother or sister is in treatment.”
Another way Trails keeps siblings involved in the therapeutic process is through regularly scheduled sibling calls.
“Throughout programming, we carry out multiple sibling calls which engage either individual siblings or groups of siblings in order to help them process what this experience has been like for them,” says McKeown. “It also provides a chance to give them a voice in the treatment process. They are encouraged to provide input, feedback, and insight into what it has been like to have a brother or sister in treatment.”
Upon graduation, families have the opportunity to engage in the Common Ground family experience. This programming allows families to feel immersed in the positive changes their child/sibling has made during treatment.
“Common Ground helps families celebrate what their student has achieved at Trails and take it in emotionally,” comments McKeown. “It also helps transition new forms of communication and other therapeutic techniques that they learned during their time at Trails. We don’t want siblings to miss out on reconnecting with their brother or sister during this time. It sets the whole family up for success and empowers them to take what they’ve learned here and move forward with it.”
At Trails, sibling involvement in the therapeutic process helps students effectively transition the progress they’ve made during treatment back home.
Learn more about family programming and sibling involvement at Trails Carolina on our website or by calling 800-975-7303.
About Trails Carolina
Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program based just outside of Asheville, North Carolina that offers a multi-dimensional wilderness therapy model to troubled adolescents, ages 10-17. Trails capitalizes upon the profound effects of a student’s wilderness experience, and then combines that experience with strong clinical assessments and therapy.
Seven Stars is a short-to-mid length (2 to 6 month) hybrid program for teens who struggle with the social, emotional, academic, psychological and psychiatric issues associated with ASD and ADHD. Seven Stars combines best practices in formal assessment and residential therapy with best practices in functional assessment and outdoor adventure and experiential therapy.
Seven Stars students spend half the week on campus in residential therapy and classroom academics. They spend the other half of the week in off-campus adventure and experiential therapies. Hiking, biking, climbing, camping and backpacking are common activities, as are service projects and educational field trips.
The Adventure and Experiential Therapy program at Seven Stars is led by Lee Smitherman, MSW, CSW. For over 16 years, Lee has committed his life to service and helping others. Lee brings an obvious passion and enthusiasm for his work and for life that is infectious and refreshing. He recently relocated to Utah and joined Seven Stars after completing his graduate work at the University of New Hampshire, where he studied with the leading researchers in Outdoor Behavioral Health.
Lee’s prior experience and education make him a perfect fit to work with Seven Stars' population. Lee completed a dual degree program and received his Master of Social Work & Master of Science in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Outdoor Education. Prior to his graduate studies, Lee served as a U.S. Marine and later found passion in providing therapeutic support to a wide range of client populations.
Lee has specific experience in therapeutic work with students who have neurodevelopmental difficulties like ASD and ADHD. He believes outdoor adventure therapy and experiential learning provide a wide range of benefits including:
- Delivering valuable therapeutic experiences to individuals resistant to traditional forms of treatment. The varied environments students experience during their time at Seven Stars provides a chance to gain a new take on therapy even if students were resistant in the past.
- An exciting and novel way for individuals to gain insight into their specific issues. Observing and working with our students in different environments helps see behaviors other therapies can miss.
- Doing therapy in these settings can engage clients in a mind/body process which, with proper facilitation, can lead to increased and accelerated meaningful therapeutic outcomes.
About Seven Stars
Seven Stars is a premier therapeutic program for teens ages 13-17 struggling with neurodevelopmental disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder, and Learning Disorders (verbal or nonverbal). Seven Stars’ treatment model takes a revolutionary shift from normal therapy methods. By combining acute care stabilization, with residential treatment and academics, true multidisciplinary assessment and treatment, outdoor experiential therapy and positive psychology, Seven Stars therapeutic program understands, assesses and builds the confidence and skills of students struggling with neurodevelopmental disorders.
Jen Capellen first realized her love of working with families and young people in college while working at a youth crisis center. Since obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and Secondary Education, she has worked in residential treatment centers over the course of 18 years. Capellen has also been a milieu manager and classroom teacher. In 2014, she joined Elevations RTC as the Dean of Students. This August, Jen joined the ViewPoint Center.
Jen is currently licensed in social studies and strives to keep patients passionate and excited about furthering their education. At ViewPoint Center, she teaches patients social studies for 3 hours each day from Monday through Thursday.
About ViewPoint Center
ViewPoint Center, a mental health assessment center for teens ages 12-17, is located just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. With a program lasting 6-7 weeks, ViewPoint Center provides superior assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and stabilization for teens struggling with mental and behavioral issues such as suicidal ideation, anxiety disorders, and eating disorders. In a safe, personalized environment, ViewPoint helps teens focus on the healing process.
Elevations RTC, a residential treatment center for teens ages 13-18, incorporates cutting edge therapeutic approaches throughout programming. Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) is a research-based therapeutic intervention traditionally utilized when helping individuals struggling with trauma. EMDR helps individuals process unresolved trauma and negative beliefs through simple eye movements guided by a trained therapeutic professional. At Elevations RTC, Primary Therapists Matt Seelos LCSW and Phyllis Tronrud CMHC use EMDR to help students struggling with trauma as well as a variety of other mental health struggles.
Matt Seelos, LCSW, utilizes EMDR with students struggling with mental health challenges which stem from a traumatic experiences that can range from near death experiences to bullying. He is currently working on certification in EMDR and recently attended the EMDRIA (EMDR International Association) Conference. He specializes in helping young people struggling with complex little "t" traumas. These traumas include negative social interactions which can be caused by struggles with ADHD and Executive Functioning.
“EMDR has been shown to increase the brain’s ability to reprocess difficult events and decrease the expression of problematic behaviors,” comments Seelos. “I have found EMDR has been an effective tool in helping students who have a significant discrepancy between their general IQ and processing speed. EMDR allows the individual to process issues at their pace and work on things as their brain and body begin to feel ready to process these events. It has also helped individuals start to recognize how events that seemed unrelated might actually be playing a part in their current struggles.”
Phyllis Tronrud, CMHC, has completed advanced EMDR trainings geared specifically towards working with children and adolescents. Her training is specialized in complex trauma, dissociation and a somatic-based approach.
“I find EMDR helpful with a variety of mental health struggles outside of trauma,” says Tronrud. “I personally use the resourcing phase of EMDR to teach students skill development. Using EMDR bilateral stimulation while a student is connected to positive experiences enhances the strength of that experience. I also utilize techniques that I learned from my somatic-based training during group therapy sessions with students. I find that these techniques helps students to slow down hyper-arousal of their nervous system and stay present with what they are experiencing emotionally. EMDR techniques help students break down walls of resistance and allows them to feel vulnerable and open. “
About Elevations RTC
Elevations RTC is a residential treatment center that offers guidance, support and relief to adolescents struggling with issues like trauma, depression, anxiety, mood disorders, behavioral problems and substance use. Elevations RTC is located in Utah and provides specialized, clinically intensive programs to struggling teens.
EDGE Learning and Wellness Collegiate Community students participated in a National Alliance on Mental Illness 5K in Chicago this past September.
The 2017 NAMIWalks Chicago 5K aimed to increase support and awareness for mental health and addiction issues. This mission resonated with EDGE students, as a number of them strive to overcome obstacles with anxiety, depression and other mental health challenges every day. They decided to join Team @AnxietySupport to stomp out the stigma surrounding anxiety and depression one step at a time. For some, the 5K became a learning experience as well.
"I enjoyed the fact that so many people came together to walk for NAMI,” said one EDGE student. “It really helped me feel good, and that maybe there isn't as much stigma toward anxiety and depression as I thought there was.”
EDGE students and staff ultimately helped Team @AnxietySupport raise over $700 for NAMI organizations across the country. As crucial as it is to raise funds for mental health education and services, no monetary value can truly amount to the importance of showing those with mental health issues that they are not alone.
“Our goal was for our students to see firsthand how prevalent mental illness actually is,” said EDGE Life Coach Carissa Johnsen. “My hope is that the population facing these challenges can continue to be vocal, come together to support one another and help fight against the stigma attached to mental illness.”
About EDGE Learning and Wellness Collegiate Community
EDGE Learning and Wellness Collegiate Community is an accredited transitional living program located in Chicago, IL. EDGE offers therapeutically supported residential and non-residential options for post-treatment young adults. The participants, ages 18 -24, are striving to excel academically, while creating a life of balance, joy and wellness.
A former employee of New Haven was arrested last week on charges of sexual assault of one of our clients. It both saddens and enrages me that something like this could have happened within the walls of our program.
The individual in question was terminated for non-criminal reasons before the allegations and charges came to light. Approximately three months after the employee was terminated allegations implicating the employee were made. We immediately reported this to the authorities. We have been working closely with them during their investigation.
We thank you for the kindness and support that has been offered as we work through this. If you have any questions, I invite you to reach out to me personally. I will do my best to answer the questions that I am able to answer while maintaining appropriate confidentiality.
About New Haven Residential Treatment Center
Founded in 1995, New Haven Residential Treatment Center has been an industry leader in treatment for young women since its inception. We serve adolescent females, ages 12-18. New Haven is clinically intensive with an emphasis on family involvement, healthy relationships, academics, love and service. New Haven is a fully licensed professional Residential Treatment Center, located in rural Utah, just south of Salt Lake City.
SSA was created by professionals with extensive experience who are passionate about working with teenagers. The primary focus at SSA is to create a program which is unsurpassed in assisting adolescent girls in overcoming anxiety, depression, trauma and substance abuse. Every program, rule, attitude and approach starts with the understanding that health is possible and with the right tools and knowledge each student can learn to make new choices for a happy, healthy and meaningful life.
Where art and technology intersect: TechieForLife (TFL) is delighted to announce its brand-new partnership with Art Around the Corner (AAC), a nonprofit organization that recruits and installs public art in historic downtown St. George, Utah. Working closely with AAC's board of directors, a team of TFL student tech experts has revised and deployed a brand-new website, www.artarounthecorner.org.
For the past 14 years, Art Around the Corner has put out an annual Call for Entries to artisans across the nation, with the goal of adding more than two dozen new pieces to the outdoor "sculpture garden" in St. George. Each piece remains in place for 12 months (with several works of art purchased by the City and private collectors each year), then a new collection is installed. The AAC website serves as an important method of recruitment for artists, and provides an online showcase for all sculptures included in each year's show. Thus, AAC sought a highly skilled team to assist with the refresh and rollout of its new site.
"When we learned about TechieForLife, we knew we'd have an outstanding opportunity to work with talented technology professionals, who happen to be college-aged students learning important vocational and life skills," said AAC Board President Susan Jarvis. "Our board feels enormously lucky to be able to benefit from their expertise as we bring our new site online. At the same time, we're able to offer the types of real-world experiences that are an integral part of the TFL program... so we believe it's a huge win/win."
Based in St. George, TechieForLife serves the educational needs of students who are described as neuroatypical, socially or emotionally delayed or have learning differences. TFL offers a college experience emphasizing studies in coding, web development and other leading-edge technologies, combining classroom instruction with life skill coaching. "We walk our students into successful adult life," said TechieForLife Founder and Executive Director Jason Grygla. "We're especially delighted to work with the Art Around the Corner board to help create an engaging website; one that will get the community excited about viewing the beautiful artwork on display downtown. Our students are really enjoying the interactions with the board members: We see their confidence level increase with every meeting, and every opportunity they have to contribute to this project."
With the oversight of Grygla and Tech Coach Joseph Cowdell, TFL students Amber Cosby and Lee Grygla are serving as project managers on the new AAC website.
TechieForLife (TFL) is a co-ed, young adult, residential and licensed vocational school located in St. George, Utah. Dubbed "Silicon Sands," Southern Utah is home to one of the fastest growing tech sectors in the U.S. Neuroatypical students who need a safe social and emotional environment gain important life skills, mentoring and marketable technoloy training, leading to internship/job placement through TFL's close private sector partnerships. TechieForLife gives students a place to belong and the supports to succeed.
Liz Edwards has been named Mountain Valley’s Treatment Center (MVTC) Director of Clinical and Community Outreach for greater New York City area. In this role, Liz provides connection and maintains relationships between MVTC and Manhattan and its surrounding communities, and includes the families, educators and mental health professionals who help support our mission.
Prior to Mountain Valley, Liz served as Director of Outreach for Fusion Academy at the Park Avenue and Lincoln Center campuses in Manhattan. Through this role, Liz furthered her passion for connecting community and being a resource for others. Liz is a Licensed Creative Arts Therapist and Registered Drama Therapist, and before entering the world of Marketing and Outreach, served as a group therapist for The Animation Project in NYC, where she worked with students in various settings, including ACS and Probation Centers. She also spent over two years working in Inpatient Psychiatry at Mount Sinai Hospital, as well as two years working in the Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program at Bronx Lebanon Hospital. In these previous roles, Liz developed a diverse clinical background, and intensified her knowledge of the efficacy of the creative arts in mental health treatment. She is looking forward to bringing her love and knowledge of Creative Arts Therapy to the MVTC community.
Liz earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Emerson College, majoring in Theatre Studies and minoring in Psychology. After living in Los Angeles and pursuing an acting career, Liz found that she was more interested in using her love of theatre in a therapeutic way. This led her to New York University, where she earned a Master of Arts Degree in Drama Therapy. She served on the North American Drama Therapy Association’s (NADTA) chapter board for five years as both President and Vice President. While on the board, she co-chaired a thought-provoking conference for the eastern region NADTA and oversaw monthly educational events for the Creative Arts Therapy community in the tri-state area. Liz currently serves as co-chair of the New York Providers Liaison Association, supporting that organization’s quarterly meetings featuring engaging speakers.
Originally from Nashville, Liz and her fiancé, Drew, live in Brooklyn, NY with their Pitbull mix (named “Dolly”, after Liz’s role model, Dolly Parton). When not doing outreach in the community, Liz is often found officiating weddings, playing with Dolly in the park, or enjoying the fantastic food, live music and theatre that New York City has to offer. Her passion for making meaningful relationships has been a common thread throughout her diverse career, and she is enthusiastic to continue this important work with Mountain Valley Treatment Center.
Liz can be reached at email@example.com, or her mobile phone at 615-479-5499.
About Mountain Valley Treatment CenterMountain Valley Treatment Center, a not for profit program, was founded in 2011 to provide intensive residential treatment to adolescent boys and girls and emerging adults struggling with severe anxiety, OCD and other related disorders. Located in Pike, NH at the edge of the White Mountain National Forest, Mountain Valley stands apart from like providers because of its specialization, its unique setting and its comprehensive approach to care. Residents typically spend 60-90 days at MVTC taking advange of the most effective evidence-based treatments through individual, group and family therapy, conducted in a caring, supportive and ethical fashion that meet the unique needs of the individuals, and the expectations of the professional practice of social work, psychology and psychiatry.
Northwest Academy is moving. And, Mother Nature is to thank for their new home.
This past spring record-setting rainfall occurred in North Idaho, which fell on top of a deep snowpack. This resulted in countless mudslides in the region, one of which was highlighted on national television and other news outlets. Unfortunately, the main road leading to Northwest Academy suffered a landslide at this time. The school safely re-opened the main access road and immediately had a geotechnical engineering firm evaluate the situation. The engineers confirmed that the mitigation allowed for safe travel, however, extensive testing was required to understand the long-term impact.
The engineering firm recently shared their findings stating that further road erosion was negligible until next spring. However, the roadway and infrastructure (water, power and communications utilities that run alongside the road) will experience imminent failure without long-term mitigation. This work cannot be completed before next spring. Thus the need to relocate to a new campus.
It turns out that perhaps Mother Nature had Northwest Academy’s best interests at heart. The new campus is nearby and available for permanent use. Plus it features more buildings and space, which better suits their ability to expand programmatic offerings to students. Click here to see a video of the new Northwest Academy campus.
New Campus Move Timeline
The final report from the geotechnical engineering firm arrived just weeks ago. And since that time, Northwest Academy has been planning and arranging to set the move in action. The move is taking place the week of November 6th. A project manager is coordinating the campus relocation and a number of remodel projects are happening prior to the move.
New Campus Location
The new campus sits on 80 acres. It is situated in a valley and surrounded by the majestic Cabinet Mountain range. Northwest Academy’s new home is a thirty minute drive from their current campus and is adjacent to sister school Boulder Creek Academy.
Features of the New Campus
The new campus is bigger than the current facility and features:
- An academic building with larger classrooms, numerous windows offering great light, and all on one floor
- Large area dedicated as the College Guidance Center
- Multi-level building dedicated to student recreation featuring a game room, media center, and upper-student lounge
- Building dedicated to house recording studio and art studio
- Larger dining hall with beautiful stone fireplace
- 18 year old female students will have apartment style dorm space with kitchen, dining and living room, plus a laundry room.
- Building to house fitness center
- Dedicated yoga and mindfulness studio
- Large pond (800 square feet) for fishing, canoeing and swimming
- Climbing tower and bouldering rock
- Basketball court
- Volleyball court
- Sports field
- Access to horses and a riding arena
- Area designated as future home of a skateboard park
And, most importantly, the same passionate staff team will be providing the same great opportunities for students.
Impact on Students
While change is always difficult and students will certainly be surprised to learn of the move, it is expected that they will become enthusiastic when they learn of the new campus. An all school therapeutic process group is being held to help students work through the emotions they may experience when learning of the move. And, students will be touring the new campus prior to the move.
The campus move will not impact any of the various activities students are individually involved in within the local community such as flying lessons, participating on the high school soccer team or swim team, jobs, attending community college classes, taking driver’s education classes, etc. These will continue as scheduled.
In the wake of the closure the Monarch School, it is important to note that Northwest Academy is healthy and vibrant. There are more than 40 students currently on campus and the move to the new campus is predicated on the failing road and not due to financial reasons.
Northwest Academy is owned by Universal Health Services, one of the largest and most respected hospital management companies in the nation. Fortune magazine consistently lists UHS among its “World's Most Admired Companies.” Most recently, Forbes ranked UHS in its inaugural list of America’s Top 500 Companies. Northwest has been owned by UHS for more than 12 years and the company is committed to the future success of Northwest Academy.
Universal Health Services, Inc. is a publicly traded company (NYSE: UHS) and reported net revenues increased 7.5% to $2.61 billion during the second quarter of 2017 as compared to $2.43 billion during the second quarter of 2016. Over the past three years, UHS has invested more than $1 billion in their facilities.
Impact on Boulder Creek Academy
The impact on Boulder Creek Academy is minimal save having a new neighbor. Work has begun on remodeling a space on the Boulder Creek Academy campus that will become home to a new female recreation area. In addition, a building will be renovated and will become the girl’s dorm complete with an 18 year old apartment for older/transitioning students. This project will be completed spring 2018.
Andrew has been part of the Vive team for over 10 years. He started with Vive shortly after earning his masters degree at Loyola University in Chicago. Andrew worked with clients as a contractor for a few years, then moved to the Boston area almost 4 years ago, taking the position of Regional Director and was integral in building the amazing Boston Vive team.
When asked why he decided to go into this line of work, Andrew shared that he was raised by two clinical psychologists and swore he would never go into that field. While attending Denison University as a business major, he started doing volunteer work. Andrew volunteered with an organization called "Hope for Autism" where he went into the homes of low income families that had children with autism. He loved this work and his passion was sparked. He then when on to volunteer with another organization that worked with families that were victims of domestic violence. By his sophomore year, he had changed his major to psychology. He shared that even though he tried to avoid it, his passion and interest in helping others couldn't be denied. Also, he had a close family member who suffered with mental illness and gave him a personal perspective that also moved him in this direction.
When asked what keeps him in this field, Andrew shared that he loves that he wakes up every day excited to do the work he does. He never dreads getting out of bed to face the work of the day like some do and feels blessed to do what he is passionate about. After being asked what is the biggest challenge he faces in working with the Vive families, he said some of the stories and situations can bring you to your knees but they can also allow you to grow and learn along side the clients.
"My hope is for our families to not only achieve stabilization in their lives and communities, but to thrive," he stated when asked what he hopes families take away from thier work with Vive. He also stated he hopes they are able to find joy and healthy connections in there homes and communites.
About Vive Family Support
Vive Family Support Program is a relational and experiential therapeutic support for pre-teens, adolescents, young adults and their families. With our unique approach and roots in the community, Vive works closely with families to offer insight, implement coping skills, and rebuild trust within the family system. Our goal is to ensure lasting positive change.
Valley View School is pleased to announce that Carol Goodrow has joined our educational team. Carol is a licensed teacher for children with special needs and learning differences (K-12). She earned a master's degree in special education and completed most of the coursework for a Ph.D. Carol is an expert in dyslexia and dyscalculia and has extensive experience in helping struggling learners become the best students they can be. She was trained in the Gillingham method and is completing her certification in the Wilson method of teaching.
Carol brings an intensity and enthusiasm to her work that is truly amazing. Whether she is consulting with a teacher, reviewing psychological/academic testing or tutoring students who are struggling, she has quickly become a major asset to Valley View School.
As one of her former colleagues remarked, "Carol has a comprehensive understanding of special education and learning issues. She can improve anyone's academic performance and can teach anyone to read. You are lucky to have her." Dr. Nowak, Executive President, added, "It is only three weeks into her tenure at Valley View and we completely agree."
About Valley View School
Valley View School, founded in 1970, is a private therapeutic boarding school serving boys in grades 6-12. A non-profit 501(c)(3) school, our campus is located in the central Massachusetts town of North Brookfield. Our overall program consists of a comprehensive blend of Therapy, Academics, Athletics, Arts and Activities challenging our students emotionally, intellectually and physically. The boys learn self-control and anger management, social skills in order to create and cultivate relationships with peers and adults, while developing compassion, empathy and respect for others and to realize their true potential.
Next month, Living Well Transitions, Heritage, SUWS of the Carolinas, ScenicView Academy and Seven Stars will team up to host the first, fully interactive Sensory Suite at the Independent Educational Consultant Association (IECA) Conference, November 15th-17th in Washington, DC. This suite will provide conference attendees the opportunity to take a break, relax and recharge, all while exploring their own individual sensory needs.
The Sensory Suite, located in the conference hotel, will be a quiet space, containing five distinct stations designed to help guests regulate their mood through various sensory experiences. These five stations include a Sight Center, a Tactile Center, a Proprioception/Vestibular Center, and an Olfactory Center which will provide beverages and snacks.
Dimming light bulbs and oil diffusers will be located throughout the suite to enhance the experience, and guests will be offered instruction for each station if requested. Access to the suite will be available during breaks in the conference schedule. Additional Sensory Suite announcements along with a full list of available times will be forthcoming.
About Living Well Transitions
Living Well Transitions, in Boulder, CO, has been treating young adults like young adults since 2004, by offering intensive individual and group therapy along with life skills counseling to young adults ages 18-32 in a real-world, independent living environment. Living Well helps clients struggle less by developing self-acceptance, values clarity and the courage to take action, no matter the circumstance, so they can lead purposeful lives in alignment with their core values.
Cabin Mountain Living Center is one of three options in the Q&A Associates family of programs. Cabin Mountain was developed when the leadership of Q&A recognized an increase in the number of young adult clients who needed longer term care. These young adults are challenged with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, Developmental Delays and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
The clients of Cabin Mountain Living Center can live within the structure of the program as long as is warranted on an individual basis. The goal for the clients is to facilitate opportunities and supports which allow them to reach the highest levels of independence possible, with lives of purpose and meaning.
Mark Shockley, MSW, LGSW, is the Director of Cabin Mountain Living Center. Mark began working for Q&A Associates as a Mentor with Applewood Transitions while completing his MSW at West Virginia University. Mark never intended to work with the young adult population in general, and certainly not with the clients who live at Cabin Mountain. His goal was to work with addicts and specifically, pregnant women struggling with addiction. Mark is in recovery himself, which affords him a unique view of those living with addiction. However, when his MSW program was complete in 2014, he was offered the position of Director at Cabin Mountain, and he accepted. “While I didn’t plan to work with this population, I feel very fortunate to do so,” he said. Mark has worked in every position within the structure of Cabin Mountain and has been a part of the team, along with his wife, Merisa, that developed the program structure, model and the leadership of Q&A Associates. “The program model for this population is ever changing as we respond to the specific needs of our clientele,” continued Shockley.
Along with his team at Cabin Mountain, Shockley has recently implemented a modified token economy as part of the daily programming. “Working with this population, you realize quickly that they truly need some level of immediate gratification, and the token economy can meet that need,” said Shockley. The staff of Cabin Mountain utilizes the token economy within the structure of allowing natural consequences to occur for each client. It is important to ensure that while the clients can accumulate tokens throughout the day, they also understand that their behaviors and choices are their own and are directly connected to the real life situations they must navigate. Achieving this result requires a lot of management and team work, and the staff at Cabin Mountain do an excellent job. “The downfall of the token economy occurs as soon as it is utilized as a punishment/reward system, so we must be diligent to ensure this never happens,” said Shockley. “This system works because we have a talented group of individuals, including Asst. Director Kelly Gooding and an incredible team of mentors; Ellis Wyatt, who came to us as an intern, was instrumental in developing our version of the token economy and mentors Patricia Thompson, MA, and Tyler Shockley provide input and daily management with a great deal of care and quality.”
Shockley talks about the rewards of working with the Cabin Mountain clientele, “Helping each client maximize his or her level of safe independence is just awesome!” Anytime a client comes to share a success, it reminds Shockley that he is a part of their family and they want him to be proud of them. “Seeing a client achieve independence, living on his or her own and self-managing is the best reward of all!”
About Cabin Mountain Living Center
Cabin Mountain is operated as a communal environment on a 15 acre farm where clients care for goats, a pot-bellied pig, chickens, cats and dogs. They also care for a garden in the summer months and learn the importance of the foods they eat by working with a nutritionist regularly. The male and female clients share common spaces, but enjoy private sleeping areas as well as two resource areas featuring an educational area and a newly developed sensory room. For more information on Cabin Mountain, please contact Angie Shockley, CEO and Owner of Q&A Associates at 304-642-9070 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
After more than a year of searching, Chamberlain International School is happy to announce a new Program Director, Marjan Naghavi. As a long time member of the National Association of Private School Education Centers (NAPSEC), Marjan became familiar with the school and a connection was made. "While I have much to learn about the school, I'm highly impressed by everything that I have seen thus far. The staff members I have met are clearly dedicated to the school and the best interests of the students. I have been able to interact with many students, and they clearly feel safe and cared for in the learning environment that is being provided."
Prior to joining the school's leadership team, Marjan served as the Associate Director of School Programs at Sheppard Pratt Health System (SPHS) for 9 years and most recently as the Interim Director of School and Residential Programs. SPHS is the largest nonpublic provider in the state of Maryland serving over 750 students with special needs. Earlier in her career, Marjan was a Principal, a special education teacher and a group home counselor in Sweden. Her educational background includes a master's degree in counseling psychology, a master's level equivalency in special education, a graduate certificate in school administration, and a bachelor's degree in psychology. Currently she is pursuing a Doctorate degree in education, with a concentration in Training and Performance Improvement.
"I am looking forward to leading the staff in a direction that would meet their specific individual, team and organizational needs" Marjan said when talking about what her plans are for the school. "Through building awareness of employees' strengths and weaknesses and by developing new strategies, outlooks and skills, I am excited about providing valuable oppurtunities to staff to gain insights and experiment with new ways of thinking in a way that will take them to the next level of performance."
About the Chamberlain International School Located in Middleboro, Massachusetts, Chamberlain International School offers a therapeutic residential learning experience for students ranging in age from 11 to 22. Students at CHamberlain International School struggle with a variety of learning disabilities and mental health challenges.
In Durango, snow-capped mountains are visible in the distance and the aspen leaves are turning varying shades of red and yellow. These elements not only signify a change in season but also serve to remind us that the move to our winter course area in Utah is drawing near.
Our southeastern Utah location boasts a dry and temperate climate, a welcomed alternative to the more harsh and snowy landscapes of Colorado winters. Our Operations team has been hard at work in our Utah base camp constructing a variety of new structures, designed to enhance the base camp experience for our students.
One significant change to base camp is the creation of gravel pathways to/from and within each group’s camp. Why does this matter? Historically, one of the biggest challenges in winter is the clay and mud build-up inherent to the land. “Putting gravel down on trails and in the camps will vastly improve the student experience,” said Greg Ooley, Operations Director. “When students return to base camp each week, they’ll spend less time cleaning and drying themselves and their gear. This allows for more time to engage in therapeutic assignments, letter writing, therapy and skill-building.”
Camp shelters are also a welcome addition to each group site. “Camp shelters give students and guides an organized, permanent, and sheltered structure to prepare food, organize cookware and utensils as well as group and personal gear ” Ooley noted. “Typically students cook over campfires or inside tipis during inclement weather. But the new shelters will provide countertops to prep and serve food and clean dishes, which in turn, will improve the experience.”
Also new this year, all group sites will have canvas wall tents furnished with potbelly stoves. The canvas tents will be used for sleeping, drying gear after expedition, and for group yoga during inclement weather. When the stove is utilized, it will provide enough warmth for students to be comfortable in T-shirts while inside the tent even if temperatures are much colder outside.
Finally, each group site will include permanent shower stall structures. The new individual shower structures will allow for warm showers throughout the week.
As always, tipis (a defining feature of Open Sky’s winter base camp) will continue to provide shelter in times of inclement weather. Tipis are a great place to gather around the fire, hold group sessions, and eat meals. Tipis are also used to host graduation ceremonies for our families and students.
Open Sky is constantly pursuing excellence in order to provide the safest and most effective programming for our students and families. The addition of gravel pathways, camp structures, individual shower stalls, and heated canvas wall tents serve to further enhance the therapeutic wilderness experience for adolescents and young adults.
About Open SKy Wilderness Therapy
Since 2006, Open Sky Wilderness Therapy has been providing the premier family-centered wilderness therapy experience through its programs in the mountains of Southwest Colorado and the Canyonlands of Southeast Utah. The Open Sky approach transcends traditional wilderness therapy by emphasizing treatment for the whole family in addition to the individual, and the application of evidence-based modalities with innovative, proven, healing practices such as yoga, meditation, and mindfulness. When a family partners with Open Sky, they embark on a rewarding adventure of self-discovery and acquire a range of tools that promote lasting success.
Ten professionals came together on Thursday, September 7th to embark on an experience unlike any other. After enjoying a meditation then dinner perched atop St. George, Utah at the Cliffside Restaurant, the group reconvened early Friday morning ready for hiking and camping “Evoke-style.”
The professionals came from consulting, intervention, life coach and treatment program backgrounds, and learned how to set up shelter, bust a fire, and more during their journey. They also had the opportunity to reflect, share, listen and meditate, to get a better feel for the Evoke client experience.
Attendees especially enjoyed lunch and conversation with a young adult group and adolescent boys group. They stayed the night in the field, listening to nearby wildlife and soaking up the wilderness’ beautiful serenity (and just a little rain!), then hiked through their stunning surroundings on Saturday morning. The group’s journey ended with writing special personal messages on cloth, then hanging these on a “Hope Tree.”
“Every detail of the trip was executed perfectly,” said attendee Rudy Novak from Turnbridge Addiction Treatment Center in New Haven, CT. “I appreciated the chance to meet with staff and clients in the field and participate with them in groups. They were engaged and welcoming to us as we entered their sacred space. The beauty of the natural environment and the love of the staff gave us a great opportunity to grow as individuals and as professionals, getting to know one another and ourselves authentically.”
“The Evoke Professionals Weekend was truly soul-filling and inspiring,” added Felicia Montiforte Kleinpeter of St. Christopher’s Addiction Wellness Center. “The whole staff took such care to provide us everything we needed to feel safe, comfortable and cared for. On top of that, they all were warm, loving and joyful. Their true dedication was apparent from the way they connected - to us, to each other, to the clients. My time in the field was so enlightening and I deeply felt the benefit of this experience. Sharing this Evoke adventure with colleagues and friends made it extra special.”
Evoke Therapy generally offers Professional Weekends in the late spring and early fall. For more information, contact Kristen Hayes, Director of Marketing & Outreach, at email@example.com.
About Evoke Therapy Programs at Entrada
Evoke Therapy Programs at Entrada, in Santa Clara, Utah provides innovative mental health treatment solutions for struggling teens, young adults and their families. Their programs foster lasting change utilizing the power of nature and Wilderness Therapy. They also offer Personal Growth Intensive Workshops for individuals and families that are looking to create dynamic changes in their life or to simply find the balance they are seeking.
“I believe that everyone has the path to healing within. The trauma treatment process is an uncovering, during which the individual remembers his or her true self," said Ryan Soave, Next Chapter Program Director.
Next Chapter Treatment in conjunction with The Realization Center are excited to present a one-day, continuing education unit (CEU) seminar, held in New York, NY on Thursday, October 19th, 2017. The seminar, entitled, “Trauma, Stress, and Addiction: A Mindful Approach”, will focus on the role of mindfulness in the treatment of trauma and addiction. Registration for the event will take place at 11:00am, and the event itself will be held from 11:30am to 1:30pm. The seminar will be presented by Ryan Soave, the Program Director at Next Chapter Treatment.
Ryan Soave, MA, CTT, RYT-200, and Certified Breathwork Specialist, holds a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling. In addition to years of experience as a Certified Trauma Therapist, he is an advanced student of Somatic Experiencing, a yoga teacher, and a meditation instructor. Ryan has extensive experience working with post-traumatic stress disorder and unresolved trauma, and is an expert in the practices and teachings of mindfulness. He has had the opportunity to lead meditations for the United States House of Representatives, and has worked alongside many other high-profile individuals and organizations. Ryan believes that the trauma treatment process is an uncovering, during which the individual remembers his or her true self. He believes that everyone has the path to healing within – they may simply need help navigating this path at first.
The seminar will focus on four main learning objectives. First, it will help attendees gain a deeper understanding of the effects that trauma often has on the emotional, mental, and physical health of the concerned individual. Attendees will also gain a deeper understanding of stress, and the role that stress plays in behavioral and chemical addictions. Ryan Soave will discuss mindfulness in depth, explaining the vital role that it plays in the trauma treatment process. And finally, attendees will learn to build up the capacity of the parasympathetic nervous system. They will be taught a specific set of tools and coping mechanisms, geared towards increased mindfulness and stress-relief. Two Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC) hours will be provided, and lunch will be served.
About Next Chapter Treatment
Next Chapter Treatment is a male-exclusive, residential trauma and addiction treatment center, located in Southern Florida. The comprehensive Next Chapter program incorporates mindfulness meditation (along with many other therapeutic techniques) as a supplement to quality clinical care. It is Joint Commision accredited. To reserve a spot at the seminar, please call (212) 627-9600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This time of year, students entering Summit Achievement commonly have “school refusal” as a shared characteristic. Their personal stories range from feeling a lack or complete loss of motivation, to being bullied by peers or picked on by teachers, to falling behind in coursework and feeling they will never catch up... the list goes on. Parents and school staff have struggled to find a way to break down those barriers between the student and the classroom. The fear and anxiety of failure and rejection can be debilitating for these students. By incorporating classroom academics into the therapeutic program each week, we are in the unique position to help address these issues.
Members of the Academic Team recently had the opportunity to present at the regional New England NATSAP conference about how they work to get the anxious, school-avoiding students back in the classroom and reduce their fears and hopelessness while increasing motivation and confidence. Their presentation looked at aspects of a blended learning environment as tools for reintegrating school back into a student’s daily life. Presenters revealed how blended learning in a therapeutic setting gives anxious students the right amount of autonomy and support to lead them back to a pathway of classroom engagement and academic success.
At Summit Achievement, this blended learning environment puts the student back in control through an individualized academic path that utilizes self-paced online courses. They navigate these courses within a small class size accompanied by constant in-person support and instruction from teachers who work closely with every student’s therapist. Keeping up with peers in a large classroom with pop quizzes, daunting mid-term papers and one-size-fits-all instruction is removed and replaced with a clear list of lessons, assignments, and assessments that allow for short-term goals and the ability to adjust those goals as they gain a greater understanding of their learning style and needs.
The key components of the blended learning environment for the school-avoidant student includes courses, environment, teachers, and a varied and adjustable length of time. The web-based curriculum helps students gain comprehension in multiple subject areas at the same time by interacting with multi-disciplinary and multi-subject curricula. The curriculum methodology is multi-sensory with material being presented through text, video, hands-on/project based, and online interactive modules benefiting different learning styles. Supplementing the web-based curriculum for each course are textbooks, writing assignments, and research materials. Interventions and accommodations are also offered, as well as support in preparing students to transition back to a more traditional school setting, post graduation. Blended learning helps bridge the gap and allows students to move forward feeling empowered, as scaffolding has been gradually minimized.
Summits teachers and staff have found that blended learning provides the following benefits:
- provides structure without rigidity
- allows for individualization
- facilitates observation
- gives back control through choice
- reduces anxiety-less pressure in their school milieu
- barriers removed and needs met
- flexibility-space and time for growth
About Summit Achievement
Summit Achievement is, and always has been, guided by positive reinforcement and the power of choice. Our outcome-focused treatment program employs effective therapeutic and educational principals. Through the process of engaging therapy, classroom academics and exciting wilderness expeditions, students experience the therapeutic benefits of outdoor adventure-based activities while learning to manage the demands of a more traditional environment. As an intentionally small, owner-operated wilderness therapy program, we serve adolescent boys and girls, ages 13-20, from around the world.
In the Footsteps program, Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness works with students, ages 10-14, to increase their understanding of the role they have played in family communication and conflict. Footsteps students frequently discover that they have felt misunderstood while expecting their family to understand things that they have not expressed openly. Repeated conflicts and resentment have resulted in students viewing those who care for them most as an opposing force. Feeling unsupported and misunderstood, students often develop patterns of behavior that have exacerbated the problem. By teaching personal responsibility and assertive communication skills, Blue Ridge assists students in taking steps toward mending their damaged relationships.
For Footsteps students and families, the parents’ work is particularly important. The opportunity to correct problems and repair family relationships has come at a pivotal time in the lives of these students, and the work they and their families do at this point will impact the students’ success through adolescence and young adulthood. When parents commit to their own progress and develop an understanding of their child’s treatment, the student and family can have the experience of being on the same team again. The work of parents involves being open, honest, and vulnerable with themselves, each other, the primary therapist, and their child. The anger, fear, sadness, and other difficult emotions all flow from parents’ care and concern for their child, and, when parents can be open about these emotions and express them in a way that is neither shaming nor rescuing their child, there is an opportunity for increased understanding and closer relationships. From a place of honest self-examination, parents can then set goals and begin to develop new skills and strategies.
It is commonly asked why wilderness therapy would be necessary to facilitate this kind of change. Families that are considering enrolling their child at Blue Ridge have often reached a point of significant conflict and struggle in their home, and yet, for a family to rebuild an atmosphere of caring and support for one another, the battles must be over. The moment a student arrives at Blue Ridge, the old patterns of blame shifting and conflict are disrupted. Not only are students in a new environment where their ability to focus on their own responsibility is optimized, but parents also experience the space needed to break the patterns they have developed in reacting to their child. The physical separation and the thoughtful process of communication through letter-writing are helpful in beginning the process of change. Parents have one hour weekly conversations with the therapist working with their child, and a great deal of insight is gained by both parents and therapist through this collaboration.
To ensure that parents feel supported and engaged in their own process of growth, Blue Ride Therapeutic Wilderness offers additional weekly parent support calls and an intensive parent workshop. In Footsteps, every action is intended to optimize the opportunity for parents and students to evaluate themselves and their relationships and to take steps that lead to greater understanding and a greater sense of fulfillment.
For more information on Blue Ridge’s Footsteps program for middle schoolers and pre-teens, please contact Primary Therapist Jeremy Nunnelley, LPC. He can be reached at email@example.com or (828) 301-0304.
About Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness
Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness offers clinically driven programs encompassing advanced therapeutic skill, a highly flexible nomadic wilderness model, licensed wilderness therapy assessment and multiple treatment options for troubled teens and pre-teens ages 10-18 years old. Our individualized approach, family support and commitment to service translate to an unparalleled experience and better outcomes for adolescents and families.
Andrew Taylor, Executive Director of Pure Life, sharing what he has learned about Millennials, has produced “In the Trenches,” a podcast for millennials or those who work with millennials every day. In the podcast, Andrew interviews ed consultants, program directors and other professionals about the millennial experience. The podcast can be found at: https://soundcloud.com/pureliferoo.
Andrew will also be presenting at the Young Adult and Transition Association Annual Conference on October 18th. He will share his experience as the founder of Pure Life Adventure in a keynote speech entitled "Millennials: Is There Hope?" Andrew will be speaking about the unique opportunities that are available to young adults and how those who are working with them can better understand why they are they way they are.
About Pure Life Adventures
Pure Life Adventures is located in the Central Pacific region of beautiful Costa Rica. Relying on decades of experience in the Costa Rican outdoor industry, our bicultural team provides a therapeutically sophisticated and holistic approach to helping young adults with depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, lack of motivation, executive function deficits, trauma and substance abuse. Our students are individuals with very real challenges looking for lasting change. Pure Life utilizes traditional individual and group therapy in combination with outdoor experiential learning and adventure. Our integrated and dynamic approach includes an emphasis on fitness, mindfulness, life skills and cultural immersion.
Sunrise is excited to announce Dorann Mitchell has joined the program as Director of Clinical Training and Development. Dorann comes to Sunrise with extensive experience in both academic and program settings and a history of healing adolescents and their families through Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT).
Dorann recently retired from the University of Utah’s College of Social Work where she was Assistant Professor, Chair of the Substance Use Concentration in the MSW program, Director of Professional and Community Education and the Director of Substance Use Disorder Counselor Certificate Training Program.
She has developed and implemented three Adolescent DBT programs and is the past Director of Primary Children’s Psychiatric Outpatient Clinic in Salt Lake City.
“Being on the Sunrise team furthers my commitment to youth and their families in creating a healthier life for themselves. The team embodies an authentic desire and care for the students and the life they can experience and I am happy and excited to be a part of it,” said Dorann.
Dorann’s many professional awards include seven from the University of Utah College of Social Work, where she was five times Academic Professor of the Year, Clinical Professor of the Year, and Agency Director of the Year.
“We are thrilled to welcome Dorann to the Sunrise team,” said Sunrise Executive Director, Brad Simpson. “Dorann has a deep passion for, and commitment to, enabling adolescents and their families to live healthy, joy-filled lives,” continued Simpson. “Her passion and expertise will help our entire Sunrise team serve our families better.”
Amongst Dorann’s extensive qualifications, she received a Certificate in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy with Children, Adolescents and Families awarded by the Postgraduate Center for Psychoanalysis and Mental Health, New York after the completion of a 3-year Fellowship. She currently serves on the NASW Board for the State of Utah.
About Sunrise RTC
Sunrise RTC, near St. George, Utah, is a DBT-intensive, residential treatment center and therapeutic boarding school for adolescent girls ages 12-17 aimed at uncovering the academic, social, and emotional potential of girls who have been held back by emotional or behavioral struggles. Sunrise combines the warmth of a home, the safety and clinical expertise of a residential treatment program, and the community access of a transition program.
Amid the worst natural disaster in US history, Hurricane Harvey, the Fulshear women, staff, therapists, transition specialists, and administrators have displayed incredible levels of human spirit. The days during Hurricane Harvey were both challenging and empowering. We are proud of our clients, in awe of our employees, and grateful for the love and support we have received.
DURING THE STORM
at the Ranch
As the storm came in on the evening of Friday, August 25th, the women at the ranch were moved to the Admin and Sunroom building where they were on higher ground and had access to everything they needed. There was some water buildup around the cottages, but each cottage is elevated and they did not flood. The ranch was not in an evacuation zone and the girls were safe with ample food and supplies.
The women and staff were impressive. Roads were unsafe throughout the city and staff were unable to come in for their shifts. Our Friday residential staff stayed with the women for days and ensured their needs were met. During the storm, the women went a little "stir crazy" but morale was high. Staff reported that it was an incredible bonding experience.
The barn became its own island and the horses stayed high and dry. The barn managers continued to take excellent care of the horses and made sure they were calm and comfortable during the storm.
AT THE APARTMENTS
The women in the apartments were able to stay in their homes safe and sound. During downpours of rain, the apartment parking lot would flood, but drained quickly when the rain lightened. The women were at times bored, but also enjoyed the down time and used it to bond with their communities. They were helpful and supportive to one another. They took turns cooking for each other and watching movies to pass the time. Like the women in the ranch, they were safe with plenty of food, water and supplies.
After the storm
While the roads were unsafe, programming was paused to protect our employees. As the rain stopped, the women from both the ranch and the apartments began volunteering alongside our staff, therapists, and transition specialists. They spent days pouring their hearts into the rescue work they were doing at shelters and donation centers. For a number of days, the Fulshear women were providing comfort and safety to families who have lost everything in the storm. It has been a moving and sobering experience for all of us. Witnessing the flood damage near the Brazos River firsthand was a particularly powerful event. The women have expressed a desire and commitment to continue volunteering and assisting those in need.
We feel incredibly fortunate that both the ranch and the apartment locations were largely undamaged in the storm. The ranch did incur minor roof damage. Regardless, the women at the ranch were able to move back into their cottages once the rain stopped.
In spite of continued closures and abnormalities that continued to plague our Houston community, the women remained safe with their needs being met. We express our tremendous gratitude for the many Fulshear employees who worked tirelessly to provide safety and comfort for our clients. Our staff made sacrifices to be away from their families and friends during this tragedy to be with the women. Aaron Duke and Mike Otufangavalu made two trips through the storm to drop off supplies at the ranch and the apartments. Our nurse Erica Sitka and our Executive Director Nikki Preece worked night and day to ensure medication needs were being met. Because our regular pharmacy was unable to deliver to us, Nikki and Erica worked with our InnerChange office and many others to find a pharmacy that would guarantee delivery. They found a pharmacy that would deliver to College Station, and Allyson Smith made the road trip to pick them up. We had so many people ready and willing to drive 20 hours or more to bring us medication if it came to it. We are all experiencing heartfelt gratitude for the outpouring of support we have received from our families, colleagues, and the community —both national and international— through this difficult experience.
Unfortunately, many of our staff and their families have experienced losses associated with Hurricane Harvey. A number have been displaced and lost everything, while many others have significant damage. We are immensely grateful for the food, water, clothing, blankets, cleaning supplies, and hygiene products we have received.
Now that the immediate needs of our employees had been met, we recognized that they will need monetary donations to begin rebuilding. We are determined to take care of our Fulshear family. To do so, we set up a GoFundMe account to support our employees. At this point, we have raised over $30,000 to help support our employees and their families in their continued effort to rebuild and get through this.
About Fulshear Treatment to Transition
Fulshear Treatment to Transition, founded in 2003 and accredited by the Joint Commission, is located right outside of Houston in Needville, TX and Stafford, TX. Fulshear works with young adult women ages 18-25 struggling with mental health issues along with accompanying co-occurring disorders, and is known for its development of the Fulshear Adult Attachment Model."
Life at Turn-About Ranch takes on new urgency as we leave the warm days of summer, hikes, and trail rides and the first chill leaves its icy mark on the grass. Students at the ranch have an abundance of new learning opportunities as the first days of Fall arrive and we feel the need to prepare for Winter.
Students learn the cyclical nature of service as they put in long days bringing in the hay, felling trees for poles and firewood then bringing the wood off the mountain. They then begin peeling the poles to repair fences and chopping firewood that will provide heat through the cold winter after many of them have graduated and returned home. The last yield of the gardens is harvested and manure is turned back into the soil and buried, awaiting the snows of winter to add moisture as students labor now to prepare the ground for use in the Spring. Many of them reaped the benefits of those who planted those same gardens in early Spring. Students learn the benefits of both hard work and service, and do it with smiles on their faces as their self-worth grows along with the size of the haystacks and woodpiles. Click to see a short video of the wonders of Fall at Turn-About Ranch.
About Turn-About Ranch
Turn-About Ranch is a wilderness therapy and residential treatment program located in the heart of Southern Utah’s canyon country. Students experience life on a real working ranch while undergoing treatment to improve their life back home. Surrounded by multiple national parks and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Turn-About Ranch is the ideal location for youth of today to have the space they need to find healing and purpose.